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CanPath to study the impact and immune response to COVID-19 infection and vaccination

Dec 1, 2021 // Study Updates

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The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (CanPath) COVID-19 Antibody Study is expanding. The Government of Canada is investing $1.9 million through Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) to fund an extension of CanPath’s existing study over a longer period of time, allowing for an additional collection of blood samples and questionnaire responses from participants. This will enable CanPath to evaluate immune responses over time in people who have had one, two or three doses of a vaccine, have had different vaccines (or a mix of brands), and are of different sexes and ages, among other criteria for comparison.

“The integration of comprehensive health and lifestyle data, medical histories and serial biological sample collection efforts enable us to measure a range of important factors, such as socio-demographic, biological and environmental variables that may contribute to different vaccine responses and COVID-19 outcomes in individuals,” says Dr. Philip Awadalla, National Scientific Director of CanPath.

CanPath is a national population health research platform that follows the health of 330,000 volunteer Canadians (or approximately 1% of the population). Its pan-Canadian COVID-19 Antibody Study will now collect a second dried blood spot sample from over 20,000 Canadians, aged 30 and older. Researchers will test the samples for presence and level of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, produced in response to either vaccination or past infection with the novel coronavirus.

The second phase of the CanPath COVID-19 Antibody Study will also seek to evaluate immune responses and vaccine effectiveness in participants with reported underlying medical conditions and medications that may render an individual immunocompromised or immunosuppressed.

“This next phase of the CanPath study fills an important scientific gap,” states CITF Executive Director, Dr. Tim Evans. “Large long-term studies like this provide critical insights on the nature and duration of immune response among diverse adult population groups and on the need for and timing of vaccine booster doses.”

“The existing longitudinal operations of the CanPath cohort have positioned us well to monitor vaccine effectiveness across Canada, including the unique mixing and matching of vaccines,” says Dr. John McLaughlin, Executive Director of CanPath.

Between February 8 and October 25, 2021, CanPath participants completed more than 28,000 online questionnaires and submitted over 26,000 dried blood spot samples as part of the first phase of the study. Preliminary results based on the first 6,000 samples were shared on June 23, 2021, making this the first pan-Canadian study using samples from a wide range of participants to confirm evidence from vaccine manufacturers’ clinical trials. Complete results from the first sample collection will be published in the coming weeks.

The CanPath COVID-19 Antibody Study is implemented in collaboration with CanPath’s regional cohorts: the BC Generations Project, Alberta’s Tomorrow Project, the Manitoba Tomorrow Project, Ontario Health Study, CARTaGENE (Quebec) and the Atlantic Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health.

About the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (CanPath)

The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (CanPath) is Canada’s largest population health study and a national platform for health research. Comprised of more than 330,000 volunteer participants, CanPath is a unique platform that allows scientists to explore how genetics, environment, lifestyle, and behaviour interact and contribute to the development of chronic disease and cancer. The addition of the COVID-19 Questionnaires and Antibody Study enable the investigation of infectious diseases as well. CanPath is hosted by the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health with national funding from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. To learn more, visit

About the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force

The Government of Canada established the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) in late April 2020 to catalyze, support, fund, and harmonize research on SARS-CoV-2 immunity for federal, provincial, and territorial decision-makers in their efforts to protect Canadians and minimize the impact of COVID-19. To date, the CITF has supported over 100 studies across Canada that are generating critical insights on the levels, trends, nature, and duration of immunity arising from SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 vaccination. The CITF is overseen by a Leadership Group of volunteers that includes leading scientists and policymakers from across Canada. The Task Force and its Secretariat work closely with a range of partners, including governments, public health agencies, institutions, health organizations, research teams, other task forces, and engages communities and stakeholders. For more information visit: